Recent Reports Highlight Impact of Bad Bosses on Productivity and Branding


Earlier this year, this blog highlighted the damage done by bad bosses; a recent New York Times Sunday Review article entitled “Is Your Boss Mean?” written by researchers who have studied the subject, reported that mean and demeaning bosses not only make people miserable, they significantly affect the ability of employees to do their jobs correctly, as well as their willingness to share information, even when that information could help the organization.

The article provides an almost shocking litany of the damage mean and demeaning bosses do to people and business, including contributing to health problems, and it also includes a checklist so a manager can look himself/herself in the mirror and ask: Am I this person? If you are, you may have some soul-searching to do.

Why is poor management so tolerated in the workplace?

Given the damage they do, it’s astounding that companies allow bad managers to survive and often prosper. When one looks under the covers to identify why companies allow mean bosses to continue their reign, the answer is often because:

  1. top management doesn’t care;
  2. the person is a friend or family of someone important; or
  3. top management doesn’t “wander” around the workplace or conduct any type of objective feedback that would help detect bad managers.

Many a bad manager costs far more in employee and customer turnover, or low productivity, than the person earns each year, so this isn’t only money wasted on an employee, it’s actually costing far more in money and happiness. The great news about Enterprise Engagement is that it can’t be faked – companies will have to do more to make employees feel fulfilled if they wish to maximize the customer experience.

As for the impact of poor management practices on branding, Disney recently reversed a decision to outsource about 25 technical jobs after receiving a PR firestorm several weeks earlier following a New York Times cover story reporting that Disney outsourced hundreds of jobs to India under dubious interpretation of U.S. Visa regulations, and structuring severance packages that effectively compelled many Disney employees to stay on to train their replacements. We don’t know if there is any relationship between the latest decision and the earlier layoff, but it’s clear that consumers are more sensitive to how companies treat their employees, and that such concerns are beginning to have a greater impact on brand equity – or what we would call engagement.


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